In the state of Texas, vehicular homicide is a felony offense. Here, it is defined as “the willful killing of a human being through the use of a motor vehicle.” This offense is much different from other crimes such as negligent homicide. The criminal penalties for this very serious offense can vary depending on several different variables.
Individuals convicted of vehicular homicide can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. In Texas, vehicular homicide includes the killing of any human being, including a fetus being carried by a pregnant woman. Once the offender is released, there will be additional restrictions based on the terms of the parole and probation agreement.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may instead be a period of probation imposed on the offender. This period of probation may be in addition to or instead of a period of incarceration. There will be several stipulations for this probationary period, such as attending counseling and/or attending substance abuse treatment if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the incident. The offender will also have to report to his probation officer every month.
As a part of probation, there is usually a community service requirement. The amount of hours that are assigned can vary and will be clearly stated as part of the probationary agreement. This community service may be related to the case such as speaking at safe driving programs and events.
The offender may also be susceptible to civil case filingsby the surviving family of the victim(s). These civil cases are totally separate from the criminal cases and will be handled in a different court. The family will be asking for a monetary award for the loss of their loved one. The amount of the lawsuit may vary immensely as there are no real restrictions on what can be sued for.
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence of another driver, your local Texas personal injury attorney can assist you in recovering damages.